The Mariners, last in the AL West for the third consecutive year, began their off-season makeover Wednesday by getting rid of two players, infielder Munenori Kawasaki and catcher Miguel Olivo. The Mariners released Kawasaki from his major league contract and declined a club option on Olivo, who will become a free agent the first day after the conclusion of the World Series.
The Mariners 40-man roster stands at 39 players, with one, LHP George Sherrill, still on the 60-day disabled list.
Kawasaki, 31, appeared in 61 games (25 starts) for the Mariners in 2012, his first in the majors after a long career with Fukuoka of the Japan Pacific League during which he was an eight-time All-Star and a two-time Gold Glove winner. But Kawasaki hit .192 with just one extra-base hit in 104 at-bats in Seattle and had an on-base percentage of .257.
Kawasaki was named the Mariners nominee for the Major League Baseball Alumni Association Heart and Hustle Award.
Olivo, 34, appeared in 87 games in 2012, starting a team-high 68 games at catcher. He hit .222 (70x315) with 12 home runs and 29 RBIs, his seventh consecutive season with double digits in home runs. Behind the plate he ranked tied for fourth in the American League with 19 caught stealing.
Olivo had two stints with the Mariners, the first from 2004-05. Olivo originally came to the Mariners in a trade (June 27, 2004) from Chicago, along with outfielders Jeremy Reed and Mike Morse, for Freddy Garcia and Ben Davis. Olivo returned to the Mariners as a free agent Jan. 3, 2011.
In four seasons with the Mariners, Olivo hit .210 with 42 home runs and 123 RBIs.